Hackers strike defense companies through real-time ad bidding

17. Oktober 2014
A major change this year in how online advertisements are sold has been embraced by hackers, who are using advanced ad-targeting capabilities to precisely deliver malware.

SecuritySecurity vendor Invincea said it has detected many instances of people within defense and aerospace companies stumbling across malicious advertisements that are shown only to them, a scheme it calls "Operation DeathClick." A white paper on the scheme will be released Friday. Alles zu Security auf CIO.de

The cybercriminals are taking advantage of a sea change in the online advertising industry, which has mostly stopped selling "bulk" user impressions and moved to real-time bidding for advertisements that are highly targeted, said Patrick Belcher, director of malware analysis at Invincea, in a webinar presentation Thursday.

Web advertisements are sold to the highest bidder on online exchanges by buyers who can specify who the ad is shown to by IP address range, region, industry vertical or even just by specific corporations.

That has proved advantageous for cybercriminals, who are signing with ad brokers to participate in real-time ad bidding. They have to win a bid for the right to show an ad, but the cost can be as little as US$0.65, Belcher said.

When the bid is won, ads are supplied that redirect visitors to landing pages on legitimate websites that have been hacked. Those landing pages then automatically try to install malware on the victim's computer, he said.

Zur Startseite